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Quite often we hear someone of our elders saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away.It really sounds great to hear such positive things but what is the truth behind this belief and what made our ancestors propagate this belief.This curiosity alone guided the researchers towards an interesting study on the health benefits of apples.When they began their study the researchers found some really interesting factors that made them believe that apple really has many health benefits to offer to many of our modern day disorders.

History Of Apple

Apple comes from the Rose family of plants and this family also contains other popular high nutrition valued fruits and nuts namely peaches, cherries, apricots,almonds,raspberries,pears and plums. Since there is a lot of diversion in the nutritional values of these fruits present in the Rose family, it is very difficult to recommend one single fruit for daily consumption.

It may be good to have a combination of fruits in our daily diet but researchers in their study have found that apple offers more benefits to cancer patients than any other fruit. This way, they say, there is definitely some truth behind the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

Though there are no specific recommendations from the researchers regarding the consumption of apples I feel an apple everyday has many benefits to offer to our overall health.

Nutrition In Apple

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Apple polyphenols are the major nutrients found in this amazing fruit. These polyphenols contain flavonols (quercetin kaempferol and myricetin), catechins (mainly epicatechin), anthocyanins (in case of red apples) chlorogenic acid and phloridizin in addition to many more polyphenol nutrients. Apple is a great source of fiber vital for easy absorption of food and digestion.This fiber in apple also includes soluble fiber pectin.

Apple contains good amount of vitamins and minerals but Vitamin C has a more prominent presence in apple than all the other vitamins. Most of the nutrients in apple are stored in its skin and hence it is the most vital part of this fruit as far as its health benefits are concerned.

One apple (180 grams in weight) contains about 94.64 calories, 0.47 gms of protein, 25.13 gms of carbohydrates, 4.37 gms of dietary fiber, 0.44 gms of soluble fiber, 3.93 gms of insoluble fiber, 18.91 gms of total sugar, and 155.72 gms of water.

In the past five years, researchers conducting various studies on the health benefits of apple focused their study completely on apple polyphenols alone. The researchers found that the balance of these polynutrients in apples is far more beneficial to our health than what was previously thought. As far as the flavonols in apples are concerned, quercetin is the vital polynutrient that’s found more in the skin than in the pulp. Kaempferol and myricetin are the other important apple flavonols whereas Chlorogenic acid is apple’s basic phenolic acid and is found equally well in the skin as well as it’s pulp.

Apples Have Antioxidant Qualities

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Since the polyphenols in apples function as antoxidants they have this strong ability to decrease the oxidation of cell membrane fats. This quality found in apple is particularly vital for the proper functioning of our cardiovascular system. It is so because the oxidation of fat (known as lipid peroxidation) in the membranes of cells that line our blood vessels,according to cardiologists,is the main risk factor for clogging of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and other heart related problems.

Apples Offer Many Benefits To Our Heart

Most of the researchers study on the cardiovascular benefits of apples was focused on two vital aspects of apple nutrients- the water soluble fiber (pectin) content and their unusual mix of polyphenols. Regular intake of apples reduces the levels of total cholesterol and more particularly the levels of the LDL cholesterol (Bad cholesterol). However, regular intake should not be mistaken for abundant intake. Researchers advice taking not more than one fresh apple a day which, according to them, will be sufficient enough to offer the desired benefits. A very recent study has found that the presence of quercetin in apples has anti inflammatory properties vital for the protection of our heart.

Apples Regulate Blood Sugar Levels In Diabetic Patients

In their study, researchers found that Quercetin and other flavonoids that are present in apples aid digestion by inhibiting carbohydrate digestive enzymes like alpha amylase and alpha glucosidase. At many other levels the polyphenols in apples are very much capable of aiding our digestion and help us in absorbing carbohydrates thereby improving the regulation of blood sugar in our body. Additionally,polyphenols in apples substantially lower the rate of glucose absorption from our digestive tract. This quality found in apples  brings down the load of sugar in our blood stream. To keep it simple, an apple a day brings down the blood sugar levels in diabetes patients.

Apple Is Cancer Preventive And Offers Relief To Cancer Patients

Although the initial research indicates that apples offer many health benefits to cancer patients more particularly to colon cancer and breast cancer patients however it is the benefits they offer to lung cancer patients that is throwing more light on the researchers’ study.Though researchers are still unable to give a proper explanation on why apples are more beneficial to lung cancer patients alone, they strongly feel that it may be so because of the anti oxidant and anti inflammatory qualities the apples possess.

Though it is too early to say that apples cure cancer but it can be confidently said that there are some other qualities in apples that give a major relief to cancer patients. Whether or not researchers claim this particular point, I personally feel that an apple a day will definitely work as a preventive if not a curative to cancer.

Apples Offers Relief To Asthma Patients 

Purely fruit diet or fruit plus vegetable diet is a method many people around the world adopt to ward off many health hazards including asthma. But as is found in case of lung cancer, apple alone has some amazing qualities that offer many benefits to people suffering from asthma. It primarily,as the researchers believe, is because of the anti oxidation qualities they possess. However, the researchers did not find much difference in the benefits offered by a combination fruit diet and an apple alone diet. This is why,they believe, an apple a day is enough to keep all the doctors away.

Apples And Other Health Benefits

The research is still at an early stage but the initial studies indicate that apples have many health benefits to offer to age related problems that include neuro degenerative problems like Alzheimers’s disease and macular degenerative problems of the eye like vision loss. Though the study is on animals right now but it indicates that the phloridizin present in apples has the capability to prevent bone loss too.

That’s it.

Thank you very much

With Love

Alekhya Komaragiri

alekhya@naturechronicle.com

Read more : Health Benefits Of Green Tea

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